P.D. Viner’s The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is a thought-provoking novel, asking the reader how far they would go to protect someone they love. At times, it kept me on the edge of my seat, as all great books should do; at other times, I was left scratching my head at the author’s easy cop-outs. However, all in all it’s a worthwhile read and one that I’m going to furnish with a rare in-between rating.
I’m not giving anything away by saying that the title character is dead, hence the title. From the get-go, you know that Dani has died years ago, and her killer has never been found. Her mother (Patti), father (Jim), and lovestruck friend (Tom) each are working for justice in their own way. Patti is taking matters into her own hands, even if that means doing it in vigilante style. Jim sometimes sees his daughter’s ghost but is trying to move forward as best he can. Tom loves/loved Dani, but the feelings were not really reciprocated. He is now working with the police force, who are reopening the case.
As is the norm now in books, the reader is jolted back and forth between time periods, eventually getting the whole cohesive story. Viner does a wonderful job at making sure it’s a seamless transition, so the reader is not too jarred. I talked before about easy cop-outs; I just feel that the author’s “coincidences” throughout the novel are borderline ridiculous. That moved my rating from a 4 to a 3.5. However, The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is a mostly well-written mystery that’s ideal for any time of year.